Swindon downgraded on covid watchlist to area of concern

Swindon downgraded on covid watchlist to area of concern

Swindon has been downgraded by Public Health England from an area of enhanced support to an area of concern.

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The coronavirus watchlist published on September 11

However, the case rate has fallen to the equivalent of 16.7 new cases per 100,000 people – putting it below the England average. Last week, the Swindon rate stood at 26.6 per 100,000 – still a significant drop on highs of 50 cases per 100,000 last month.

Swindon Borough Council director of public health Steve Maddern urged people to remain cautious and follow guidance around social distancing, hand-washing and wearing face coverings.

He said: “I would hope that next week, if we continue on the same train that we may see ourselves coming off the list, but again I’m at the mercy of the government.

“We cannot be complacent.”

Asked why the rates had fallen so far, he cited the success of a borough-wide campaign aimed at getting people to follow the covid guidance and support from partners like Wiltshire Police.

Health officials are also said to be working with the department of health to find a site for a third coronavirus test centre in the town.

The new centre, which could be up and running within 48 hours of government giving the green light, will be smaller than existing test centres at Wroughton Park and Ride and the Civic Offices. It is likely to be situated in the SN1 postcode area, where rates of new cases have been highest.

Mr Maddern said: “We know that testing is very fundamental to our strategy in Swindon, particularly in our SN1 and SN2 communities and we are impacted by the national issues.

“But I feel that because we have been on the national watchlist, although we have seen some local level challenges we have probably been a little more protected.”

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